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Send no flowers, please

13 November 2015

November 12th, 1915.

ADVANTAGE should, we think, be taken of the war to break away from foolish and extravagant conventions to which we have insensibly enslaved ourselves. Among these is the practice of sending floral emblems to adorn the coffin, hearse and grave of a departed friend. After a long struggle we managed to get rid of the hatbands, scarves, plumes and other expensive funeral horrors. The present cost of living and the need for a stricter economy might well serve as the occasion for abolishing at once and for ever a practice which, though originating in a pretty sentiment, has developed into a branch of commercialism. There is very little sentiment left, when social custom demands these costly offerings, which a florist is ready to supply on receipt of a cheque; and there is still less sentiment in the sight of a grave covered with wreaths and crosses the flowers of which are left to decay, often with the cards attached to them soaked with rain and making the churchyard unsightly. Occasionally, a family has the moral courage to request that no flowers shall be sent, and when it has this courage it commands our admiration. But for the great majority social custom is everything. Flowers have become the mode, and the more of them that can be shown at a funeral the more the dead is supposed to be honoured. But, when coldly examined in the dry light of reason, the custom under present conditions is seen to be unnecessary, expensive, and almost meaningless.


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